Battle on in SA off-road series

2013-07-17 12:40

VRYHEID, KwaZulu-Natal - The 2013 South African National Off-road Motorcycle and Quad championships standings will most probably continue to shuffle at the Bell 400, Round 5 of the National series on July 20 in the Vryheid area of KwaZulu-Natal.

A few new class leaders emerged at the halfway point of the season after the Botswana desert race; with only three events remaining anything can still happen in the various title fights.

The Yamaha riders, Kenny Gilbert and Jurie Meyer kept their respective leads in the motorcycle and quad categories, but they cannot be assured of the titles yet as those behind them can still catch up.


Gilbert is nine points ahead of Dakar Challenge winner, Ruan Roberts (Yamaha) who leads both Michael Pentecost (Yamaha) and Altus de Wet (Husqvarna Racing) who have the same amount of points. Pentecost is also leading the OR3 (200cc) championship while Gilbert, Roberts and De Wet are first, second and third in the OR1 (Open Class) championship. JC de Bruin (Yamaha) rounds off the top five in the motorcycle category making it two KZN riders (including the Durban scholar, Pentecost) who will be in action in front of their home crowd at the Vryheid event.

John Aylward (Yamaha) from Kokstad represents KZN on the podium in the quad category and is currently filling the third spot after he could not finish the third round in Botswana. He is only six points behind Brian Baragwanath (Yamaha) who claimed his second victory of the season in Botswana and jumped on the podium from where he is trailing the defending title holder by 13 points. Meyer, Baragwanath and Aylward also fill the Q1 championship podium in that order.

Both fourth-placed Rorke Millar (Can-Am Racing) and fifth-placed Freddie Taljaard (Suzuki) have moved up into the overall top five after consistent results in Botswana. They are being separated by a single point.

After the dust has settled over two days of racing in the desert in Botswana, it was clear that a lot of movement took place in the top 10 standings of the quad category. Leonard dos Santos (Suzuki) was third overall and was leading the Q2 standings, but dropped to 10th overall after he could not finish any of the two races in Botswana. He is now second in Q2, three points ahead of Justin Robert (Suzuki) with Oz Osbourne (Yamaha) the new class leader.


Danie Erasmus (Suzuki) also lost five positions on the overall standings. He dropped from fourth to ninth place after he could only complete the race on the second day while a third place in Botswana lifted Dino do Amaral (KTM) from 12th to seventh place. Do Amaral has the same amount of points as Andre du Plessis (Yamaha) who shot up the most places – a whopping 23 places from 31st to eighth – after two top five results in Botswana. The overall top five is now within Du Plessis’ reach.

Jacques Struwig (Suzuki) lost his lead in the Senior Quad Class Championship after he could only finished the second day’s race. He is now third in this class championship and fills the fifth place on the overall standings. Local KZN rider, Paul Chomse (Banshee) from Mtubatuba is the new Senior Class leader after solid results in Botswana and he would hope to add a third victory to his list this season. Kobus Erasmus (Suzuki) trails Chomse by 10 points and leads Struwig by 10 points in this championship where Diamond Trailers team-mates, Russell Ferreira (Honda) and Peter Walter (Yamaha) round off the top five.

Only nine points separate the remaining five motorcycle riders in the top 10. Chris Webster (Yamaha) moved up one position to sixth place, but will hope this 380 kilometre event will suit him better. He is only one point ahead of two riders – Nicholas Pienaar (KTM) who bagged a victory in Botswana, but could not finish the second day and Juan ‘Bollie’ van Rooyen (KTM) who posted consistent results. Timmy Young (Yamaha) is ninth with the defending title holder, Louwrens Mahoney (KTM) who is out of action with a broken ankle, tenth.

The overall standings determine the competitors’ race numbers for the next season, but they are actually chasing the class championships and major titles. Jono van Wyk (KTM) is currently 11th overall and can pass his team mate’s (Mahoney) for a place in the top ten, but more importantly – he has taken the lead in the OR2 (250cc) championship and leads Young by nine points with Dillon Inggs (Naledi Motors Wesbank Racing KTM), who jumped from 11th place in this class to the third place on the podium after good results that included a class victory in Botswana.

In the combined OR3/OR4 championship, Pentecost leads his team mate, Brandon Youell comfortably while Bernard McGee (Yamaha) has moved from sixth to third place. Louw Schmidt (KTM) still leads the OR4 (Under 21) standings from Taki Bogiages (KTM) and local KZN rider, Estiaan Steenkamp (Husqvarna) who will now be competing in OR1.

Interesting names of other KZN riders on the entry list include those of enduro specialists, Wade Young (Husaberg) in OR4 and Scott Bouverie (KTM) in OR3 – both have just returned from successfully competing in the Red Bull Romaniacs extreme enduro event in Romania – as well as Brett Swanepoel (KTM).

On two wheels the Senior Class championship has also been shuffled and has produced a new leader – Pieter Holl (KTM). The previous leader, Justin Broughton (KTM) has dropped to third place, 17 points behind Wayne Farmer who is 22 points behind the leader. All the pressure will be on Holl as Broughton would like his position back while Farmer will also aim for the lead. These points are however still provisional as the Botswana results for this class have not been finalised yet.


The Master Class championship has received only a few entries, but the battle will continue at the front between the leader, Martin Poole (Yamaha) who leads Jan Berning (KTM) by a single point with third-placed Leon Gerber (KTM) only nine points behind. On four wheels Jurie Meyer Sr (Yamaha ) might be leading this championship, but he is not safe yet as second-placed Tony dos Santos (Suzuki) can overtake him if he puts a wheel wrong. Peter Schenk (Honda) has moved from fifth to third place and will keep the front runners in his sight.

Mauritz Meiring (Yamaha) and Berne Bester (Suzuki) continue to lead the Silver Class Challenge on two and four wheels respectively while Liezel Barnard (Can-Am) is still leading the Ladies Quad Class. After two victories in Botswana, Taye Perry (KTM) has taken the lead in the Ladies Class of the motorcycle category. All these battles will continue at the upcoming race.

Only six of the seven events count towards the final standings.

The event will start on Saturday, July 20 at 8.30am when motorcycle and quad riders tackle two separate loops from the Waverly Farm in the Kambula area outside Vryheid. Competitors will return after each lap to the race venue that will also serve as the central service point and will finish there after 380km. Spectators are welcome.

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